Inclusive Recruitment: Why It Matters And How To Do It

Written by EFP Editor
Last updated Tuesday June 21 2022

Our topic of the day is inclusive recruitment.

Inclusivity, diversity, and equality should be present in all areas of our businesses and companies. Before any employee even sets foot in our office, they should be treated fairly and without any predetermined bias. 

The recruitment process is one which historically has been seen to hold a lot of biased practice. Whether this is a matter of race, gender, religion, or disability, many companies have lost out on skilled employees due to bias and discrimination. Whether that be conscious or unconscious. 

Disabled people, particularly, have long been misrepresented and mistreated in recruitment processes and this has had a significant effect on the community as a whole. To give a quick introductory example, as many as 17% of disabled people looking for work have had a job offer withdrawn due to their disability. 

Discrimination in recruitment is out there, there should be no doubt about that. Therefore it is hugely important to talk about it, acknowledge it, and come up with a plan on how to actively target it. 

Why Inclusive Recruitment Matters 

There is, and always has been, a gap in the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people. While there has been progress over the last 10 years in closing that gap, it still very much exists. It is still, in fact, pretty big. 

Currently, the employment rate in the U.K. for non-disabled people stands at 81%. The employment rate for disabled people in the U.K. stands at a significantly lower 52.7%. This lowered from 54% in 2020, with the pandemic having an overwhelming impact on the disabled community. 

While, of course, we must acknowledge that some disabled people are not physically or mentally able to work and never will be, this number constitutes fewer people than the general public might think it would. 

There is no lack of want when it comes to disabled people looking for work. Rather, it is a lack of support and an abundance of discrimination that holds disabled people back from working. Studies found that only 50% of job applications sent by disabled people result in job interviews, as opposed to 69% of non-disabled applicants. Disabled people are applying for jobs, they simply get them far less than non-disabled people. 

Inclusive recruitment could put an end to this gap and allow a fair playing field to be established for all applications.Inclusive recruitment benefits disabled people, companies, and the economy at large. Disabled people can find more work that they want to do and gain value from,  companies can benefit from gaining skilled and valuable members of staff, and the economy can benefit from more people being in employment and contributing back to the economy. 

How To Carry Out Inclusive Recruitment

There will be multiple aspects to consider when it comes to planning and carrying out inclusive recruitment. 

To make things easier, we have split these aspects into three main categories, 1) accessibility for applications, 2) training for recruiters and 3) inclusivity on the inside. 

Let’s discuss each of these in more detail. 

  1. Accessibility For Applications

The first step of recruitment is usually the application process. How you set out and present your application process to potential applications will have a significant impact on whether the entire job is accessible or not. 

The first thing to consider will be your job posting. Job postings can be either intentionally or accidentally discriminatory and exclusionary in lots of different ways. Many job postings are ableist and use ableist language without the employer even realising. If this is the case, many disabled applications will be deterred from applying when there is absolutely no reason that they cannot do the job advertised. 

At Carers with Disabilities, we offer a specialised service for employers that will screen your job adverts for inclusivity or lack thereof. This can help you make sure you aren’t accidentally excluding anyone through the use of language. It might seem like a small thing, but it can make a huge difference. 

The second thing to consider with accessibility for applicants will be your application form. Application forms can be inaccessible in many different ways. One of the best things you can do is include an option entitled “help with completing application form”, in which you offer different formats and additional support. Even simple things like larger fonts and audio descriptions can make a huge difference to the accessibility of your application form. 

Considering these aspects in advance and taking action to ensure accessibility is a sure way to find a large, diverse pool of talent. Forgetting to take these things into account is an easy way to exclude great potential employees, simply because they have a disability. 

2) Training For Recruiters

The second aspect of carrying out inclusive recruitment is having inclusive recruiters. Making sure that our recruitment team/HR team is inclusive requires appropriate and consistent training. 

In a report commissioned by the NHS, entitled, “Inclusive Recruitment: Leading Positive Change”, the South Warwickshire Trust took part in a challenge to, “recruit a diverse workforce that is representative of its local communities”. One of their main points of action was to offer their staff equality impact assessment training and cultural awareness training. This was done to ensure that the culture of the recruitment teams was appropriate. And to “determine and address any unconscious biases that may exist”. As a result, the trust was able to achieve its goals and fewer applicants felt discriminated against in the recruitment process. 

Unconscious biases are very important issues to tackle within the recruitment system. If your recruiters are making decisions based on internal opinions and stereotypes they have, there can never be a fair system of recruitment in place. 

Training is essential. 

3) Inclusivity On The Inside 

One of the best ways to make sure that you are engaging with practices of inclusive recruitment is to have a company or business that is already inclusive on the inside. 

One of the most efficient tools to have in your inclusive recruitment toolkit is a diverse staff force. Of course, this might take time to build up if you are starting from a non-diverse starting point. But having disabled members of staff to help give their own perspective on issues is a fantastic resource.

No one knows more about accessibility and the lack of it than disabled people themselves. 

Consult people who have lived this life themselves and take guidance from them. Especially on how to make things better for other people to come. Continuous learning is a valuable resource for inclusivity and accessibility. We can all learn together to make the workplace a better, more equal space for everyone. 

Inclusive Recruitment Practices To Take Home

We hope that this blog has given you an insight into inclusive recruitment. Both in why it is important and how you can do it in your own company. 

Being an inclusive employer is a great thing to do, for you and your employees.

To start your own journey with inclusive recruitment, why not get involved with our specialized packages for employers at Careers with Disabilities. 

You can reach a large pool of diverse applicants by creating a free company profile on our site, and you can work with our services to create and advertise inclusive job postings that will allow people of all abilities to apply for your posts on our disability-friendly jobs board.

You can also learn more about being a Disability-Friendly employer, right here. 


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Last Updated: Tuesday June 21 2022

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